RETAILERS: THE LIGHTS HAVE IT

Byline: Debbie Bryant

DALLAS — The Texas thermometer may still be reading in the 90s, but buyers who’ll be attending the upcoming spring market will be thinking cool — springtime cool. Lightweight fabrics are the order of the day, and color reigns. Skirts are flowing to longer lengths.
Here’s a rundown of what buyers from Texas stores expect to find.
Karen McCullough, fashion director, Gumbo, Houston: “Our customers are really into body-conscious dressing; fit is imperative. We sell a lot of bodysuits. For example, one great look is a flowing skirt over a bodysuit with a lower neckline, maybe with pearls — you know, the ‘Tin Cup’ look.
“We think people are getting away from linens and going for softer fabrics. We expect a lot of silks, georgette and even Lycra spandex. Lavender and yellow are both going to be really big.
“Our clientele realizes that age doesn’t matter anymore, as long as they think young. And that translates into a really clean, simple look, like the great-looking T-shirts by Michael Star and the flowy skirts by Tessuto. Idiom and Water Colors also make great skirts with uneven hemlines.”
Victoria Jackson, owner, Byzantine, Dallas: The Oriental-inspired look is very popular right now, “so we are expecting that trend to continue into the spring. We are also seeing a more romantic look, especially in skirts and twinsets. For colors, we expect to see bright colors and pastels. Pastels look nice with the romantic look.
“In fabrics, the crochet knits and lace looks are doing very well. Last spring, we didn’t see a lot of rayon, but we hope to in this market. Also, the popularity of cut and burnt velvet, in pastels, should continue.
“As for styles, we noticed in Los Angeles and New York that skirts were lengthening. It’s a great look, especially in a georgette. Lines we are interested in are Laundry, Tessuto and Cynthia Rowley.”
Maureen Sweeney, owner, Raspberry Rose, Houston: “We continue to get feedback from our clientele that they like the tailored look. By and large, our customers are 30 and over, and they like a little bit of fit, but definitely something comfortable.
“We only look at quality fabrics, and what we like now is the lightweight men’s wear fabrication — it has to be lightweight for Houston — but in a feminine style. Green, especially lime, continues to be popular. We rarely do brights — they are too limiting.
“Lines we look for at market are Olsen, the German maker of related separates, and Renfrew for suitings. For the arty look, Visual Professional is very well done. We go with C’est Duo for layering and Joseph for casuals.”
Lisa Spain, owner, Cotton Club, Houston: “Spring, without a doubt, will bring linens, lots of linens — especially for Houston. And I hope jerseys will still be big — they are very popular with our customers.
“I think flowing skirts are a pretty happening trend. Also, dresses — spring is our biggest time for dresses. Colors will be light, of course.
“I only do certain lines in Dallas, but I will specifically look for Eileen Fisher, Kathleen Sommers and Donna Jessica.”
Charli Light, owner, Charli, College Station: “We see fashion as evolving these days toward classics. For spring, we will look at anything that has interest and detail. In the fall, we went with leather and velvet trim. I don’t know how that will translate for the spring, but we will be looking for something a little bit unexpected.
“People will be looking for colors that are bright and fresh; I think oranges, corals, and yellows will do well. The stretch fabrics are wonderful these days. They are so comfortable and work well in warmer climates.
“Charli’s goes with an upscale look, so Dana Buchman and Finity are some of our staple lines. We also do a lot of eveningwear, and for these we like Niteline, Rex Lester and Rimini.”

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